First aid at your fingertips

It’s that time of the year again: pool parties, celebrations, lots of drinking, and – inevitably – accidents. We may not want to think about it, but injuries and accidents tend to happen over the festive season.

Knowing the basics of first aid can ensure you have a safe and happy holiday. Here are the top three first-aid techniques you need to know.

1. CPR

Boozy days by the pool could lead to drowning. If a person isn’t breathing for any reason, you can use CPR while you wait for an ambulance to arrive. Remember: always call for help before starting CPR.

How it’s done:

  • Place the person flat on his back.
  • Tilt his head slightly to lift his chin and open the airway.
  • Place the heel of your one hand on the centre of his chest and your other hand on top, interlocking your fingers.
  • Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.
  • Use your body weight to press down on his chest by five to six centimetres at a steady rate of 100 compressions per minute.
  • After every 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths: tilt his head back and gently lift his chin. Pinch his nose, seal your mouth over his mouth, and blow firmly. Check that the chest rises. Do this twice. Then, continue with the compressions.
  • Repeat these steps until the person starts breathing or help arrives.


2. The Heimlich manoeuvre

Choking can easily happen if you bite off more than you can chew. Whenever you see someone choking because something is lodged in their throat, you can invoke the Heimlich manoeuvre to help remove it.

How it’s done:

  • Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around his waist.
  • Clench your fist and place it just above the navel, thumb side in.
  • Grasp your fist with the other hand and press it into the stomach with a hard, upward thrust.
  • Repeat this until the object that is stuck pops out of the person’s mouth.
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3. The Recovery Position

The recovery position is used when someone is unconscious, but is breathing, has no suspected head injury and isn’t in any life-threatening condition.

How it’s done:

  • Kneel on the floor to one side of the person.
  • Place him on his back.
  • Place the arm nearest to you at a right angle to his body, elbow bent and palm facing upwards.
  • Take the other arm and place it across the chest so that the back of the other hand is against the cheek.
  • Bend the knee furthest away from you into a right angle. Pull it up until his foot is flat on the floor.
  • Then, gently roll him onto his side by pulling on the bent knee.
  • The top arm should be supporting the head and the bent leg should be resting on the floor to prevent rolling.
  • Open the airway by tilting the head back and lifting the chin. Check that nothing is blocking the airway.
  • Stay with the person until he recovers and help arrives.

Now that you know what to do, why not keep refreshing your memory, with our first aid tips? If you’re a member of Hello Doctor, simply sign into the app, and sign up to the first aid health tips here.